fostering hope and weaving identity through documentary storytelling

Maury Elementary School

The 2013-2014 Identity Project Residency at Maury Elementary was the result of an ongoing partnership with The Literacy Lab in Washington DC. While in residence at Maury, The Identity Project reached over 60 K-3rd graders. Alesandra Zsiba worked closely with literacy specialists to craft a residency model that inspired students to find daily affirmation through a unique pedagogical approach fusing documentary storytelling and project-literacy learning.

I have taught in DCPS for the last 14 years, among some extremely talented people. Never before, however, have I been as impressed as I was last week upon seeing Alesandra Zsiba’s work with the Maury first and second graders through the Literacy Lab program. The pictures she took and poems she facilitated with the children truly capture the essence of each child and, I feel, childhood. After 115 days together I feel like I know my students pretty well. After reading one of my student, Max’s words, ‘if you tear your shoe you’re looking at the universe...’ I had a chance to see a side of him he does not show in class.
— Nathan Havner, 2nd Grade Teacher, Maury Elementary School